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The Center for Independent Journalism (CIJ) is a non-profit and non-political organization with the aim of promoting ethical, fact-based journalism and independent media in Hungary.

CIJ has been the only organization in Hungary offering journalism and media training on a non-profit basis since its foundation in 1995, and has trained thousands of media students and professionals.

From 1995 to 2003 CIJ focused its activities on basic journalism training, but in the past years – according to the changing needs – the Center has put a special emphasis on further training of professional journalists to contribute to ethical and quality journalism. In recent years priority areas of activities have been: training of journalists and managers; diversity reporting and multiculturalism; international cooperation and networking; media self-regulation and freedom of information issues.

Training of journalists

CIJ provides short and long-term training programs, including courses and workshops radio and television news production, online journalism, international news reporting, economic and business reporting, health reporting, investigative journalism, news writing, citizen journalism, multimedia. CIJ offers media training to professional and student journalists, organises workshops and roundtable discussions, participates in international media training programs. CIJ also publishes training resources (manuals, handbooks) in Hungarian.

From 1995 to 2000 CIJ trained more than 800 reporters and managers of local newspapers, radio and television stations. As the local implementing partner of the BBC, CIJ hosted television and radio courses from 1997 to 200, and more than 100 reporters, editors and 100 managers were trained.

Diversity issues in media – In 1998 CIJ launched the first newsroom diversification program in Central Europe to train young Romani to become journalists. Over the years, the Roma Mainstream Media Internship Program has gained international recognition, in 2009 it was selected into the top 30 diversity initiatives in the European media. Based on this model, similar programs were launched in Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Macedonia. So far 104 journalists of Roma origin graduated from the Hungarian program. A majority of the alumni works in newsrooms of the national and regional media or related jobs. Roma alumni of the program have received more than 20 awards and prizes for journalism excellence. CIJ also had several programs to train Roma journalists to assist Roma NGOs and civil organizations in media relations.

CIJ implemented EU Phare Access programs (one related to media strategies for disadvantaged youth and another on gender mainstreaming in the media) and various training programs for Hungarian and international NGOs on media relations to work with civil organizations.

International cooperation

As a co-founder of the South East European Network for Professionalization of Media (SEENPM, www.seenpm.org), the Center has been working together with the network member centers in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia in training of journalists, media research projects, professional exchange programs and media policy initiatives. In 2006 the Budapest Center held the Presidency of the network and in this position directed the establishment of the new SEENPM association, a legal entity embracing now 17 member centers in 12 countries.

Apart from network activities, the Budapest center organized topical study tours and exchange programs in Hungary for managers and senior editors from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine, Romania, and Croatia.

Roundtable discussions and conferences on media

By organizing and hosting meetings, round table discussions and conferences, the Center for Independent Journalism provides a regular professional forum for Hungarian and international media experts, journalists and managers to discuss current issues on media and freedom of information. In these activities CIJ cooperates with media NGOs, including the Association of Content Providers in Hungary, Hungarian Publishers Association, the Association of Women Internet Users, Center for Press Freedom, Non-Profit Media Center Foundation and also international organizations.

The Budapest Center co-organized two major international conferences on investigative reporting (2005 and 2007), media law (2006), ethics (2005), access to public information in cooperation with various organizations (2007), including the Danish Association of Investigative Journalism (Scoop), Balkan Investigative Reporting Network and Farmsubsidy.org.

Media self-regulation

CIJ launched a civil initiative in 2007 to stregthen self-regulation in Hungary in order to uphold the ethics of reporting and promote media’s watchdog role in a democratic society. Drafts of the ethical guidelines for journalists and the operational modalities of the future self-regulatory council embracing all media sectors were elaborated CIJ. and are being publicly discussed.

Structure and staff

The Center for Independent Journalism is a registered as a Hungarian foundation Független Újságírók Alapítványa / Independent Journalism Foundation (registration number: 6508).

Staff of the Center for Independent Journalism:

Sándor Orbán, Director (sandor.orban@cij.hu)

Ildikó Krajcsovics Pákozdy, program director ( ildiko.krajcsovics@cij.hu )

Governing bodies of Független Újságírók Alapítványa/ Independent Journalism Foundation:

Board of Trustees:

János Horvát (President)
Ilona Móricz
Vilmos Both
Dr. Gabriella Cseh
Sándor Orbán

The Founder:

Since 1995, the New York-based Independent Journalism Foundation (IJF) had exercised the founding rights of the Budapest Center. On June 20, 2007, IJF delegated these rights to Vice President and Managing Director Nancy N.W. Ward.

Independent Journalism Foundation
875 West End Avenue, Apt. 8A
New York, New York    10025-4953
(212)865-0431   fax (212)864-7201

James L. Greenfield, President
Donald M. Wilson, Vice President
Nancy N.W. Ward, Vice President, Managing Director

The Center for Independent Journalism (CIJ) is a co-founder of the Editors’ Forum in Hungary. CIJ is committed to respect the Ethical Guidelines adopted by the Editors’ Forum.